Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
Heading into tonight’s game, the Washington Wizards ranked dead last in the league in Offensive Rating — averaging 95.7 points per 100 possessions. To put that number in perspective, when the Charlotte Bobcats finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history last season, they averaged 95.2 points per 100 possessions.
In other words, the Wizards’ offense had reached historic levels of futility.
But none of that mattered against the Orlando Magic, as Washington scored 120 points in 94 possessions for a whopping 128.3 Offensive Rating. The Wizards did it by running roughshod over the Magic. Literally. Washington outscored Orlando 29-4 in fast break points, which proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
And John Wall was one of the catalysts of the Wizards’ transition offense. The moment Wall stepped on the floor, he pushed the tempo every chance he got. This was evident with his first basket of the game, which was a fast break layup late in the first quarter.
The sequence began when Kevin Seraphin blocked Arron Afflalo’s layup attempt. Emeka Okafor caught the loose ball, then made an outlet pass to Wall, who immediately darted down the court. Jameer Nelson was the first man back on defense for the Magic but it didn’t matter, as Wall zipped right past him for a layup in transition.
It’s no secret that Wall’s biggest strength is his speed, particularly in the open floor, and he put it on display against Orlando throughout the game. But Wall made the best use of his speed in the half-court in the play of the game.
With the third quarter winding down, Wall beat Ish Smith off the dribble and broke his ankles with a devastating behind-the-back crossover that finished with an assist to a wide open Seraphin along the baseline for a dunk. It was Wall moving at the speed of light that doomed Smith.
This coming after Smith jumped over Wall and blocked his shot in the first half. It’s safe to say that Wall got his revenge.
A.J. Price and Garrett Temple also deserve kudos for pushing the pace and putting the Magic’s defense on their heels all night long. Price and Temple, alongside Wall, picked apart Orlando’s defense with their relentless attacking and it reflected in the discrepancy in fast break points.
Considering the caliber of opponent, this may take the cake as the worst loss of the season for the Magic.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
This was a team win in every sense of the word for the Wizards. Six players finished the game scoring in double figures. Emeka Okafor stood out from the pack with a double-double (19 points and 11 rebounds).
That Was … a Welcomed Sight
Despite the blowout loss, the good news for Orlando is that Glen Davis and E’Twaun Moore played after sitting out with injuries. Davis, in particular, looked sharp, finishing with 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting in 18 minutes and playing solid defense.